This article examines the sense of Jewish vulnerability and exclusion in Europe that has resulted from manifestations, and Jewish perceptions, of the “new anti-Semitism,” and the role of Islamic communities in Europe in propagating this form of hatred of Jews. First emerging in 2000 with the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada, and tied in with the Middle East conflict, anger at Israel is directed at Diaspora Jewish communities. This “new anti-Semitism” targets the Jewish collective with the characteristics of anti-Semitism previously aimed at individual Jews. The article focuses on the wave of anti-Semitism that erupted as a result of the 2014 Israeli–Hamas War. Based on an analysis of European Jewish communities, it considers the active part played by European Muslim communities in perpetrating the new anti-Semitism. Using an analysis of survey data, emigration statistics and newspaper opinion articles by leading European Jewish intellectuals, the article considers how the new anti-Semitism is adversely affecting Jewish–Muslim relations and the concomitant sense of “belonging” of European Jewry. The article considers what is required to overcome the new anti-Semitism propagated by Muslim communities to restore a greater sense of Jewish belonging to, and identification with, Europe.
The 2014 summer war on Gaza was the third in the last six years and in many ways the most devastating one. While the triggers to this war were the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teenagers angazd the subsequent kidnapping and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager, the real reasons can be traced back to the international community’s failed and myopic policies towards Gaza. Moreover, by adopting the ‘West Bank first’ strategy the international community has failed to blow some fresh air into what is left of the so-called Middle East Peace Process and has acted as the abettor of the recent war.
The future of the Israel–Gaza war crime trials is a complex puzzle. Even though the new crisis has come to an end with the help of Egypt, the long-term solution to this age-long crisis is still far from being fostered and accepted by the international order. The recent war crimes committed by both actors only make matters more complicated for the historically rooted conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Gaza conflict might be over but Israel is now gearing up for the legal procedures pertaining to the possible war crimes allegations. The army has been preparing itself for conducting internal investigations of its wartime actions and has prepared a detailed public relations campaign of satellite photos and video clips, hoping to persuade the world that its war against Hamas was justified. The argument of Israel will be weighed against the principle of proportionality, which is essentially a judgement call on whether the force applied was reasonable.
A lot depends on how the issue will be dealt with by the members of the UNSC, the decision of Palestine to take matters directly to the ICC and the eventual findings of the commission appointed by the UNHRC. Whether it is Israel or Palestine, the big question will always be: What will it take to solve the Israel–Palestine issue? The answer is not simple, with the shaping of the diplomatic environment being key in the possible permanent closure of this crisis. Even though many countries consider the war crimes trial as a probable thorn on the way to peace negotiations, denying justice to the people who suffered can in no way build a strong base for long-term peace and harmony between Israel and Palestine. But the historically deeply rooted religious and cultural mistrust between the people of both nations, amidst the volatile geopolitical setting of the world today, makes the task of international organisations and leaders to foster unanimously accepted closure of this crisis a herculean one.
Because of the flaws, limits, or political impossibility of some of these options, the status quo may be the best of a bunch of poor choices. Nevertheless, given the problems with Israel’s current approach and the paucity of good alternatives, some changes are necessary. The analysis suggests the importance of helping moderate Palestinians govern more competently and become politically stronger: currently they are on the path to political irrelevance. In addition, the world should offer pragmatists in Hamas political opportunities, giving them another path to success beyond violence. Finally, options that offer small changes in the status quo deserve consideration. Such steps would, over time, enable Israel to take more risks and allow everyone to move beyond the current stalemate
University of California Press is happy to notify you that the new issue of Journal of Palestine Studies is now available. The online issues of this journal are hosted on JSTOR on behalf of University of California Press.
This summer saw an intense escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas and increased turmoil across the Middle East. Join former State Department special advisor and Middle East diplomacy expert, David Makovsky, for a special analysis of these events, their implications for Israel and the region and an important look at the road ahead.
Topic:Israel: On the Ground
Date:Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time:12:00PM EST – 1:00PM EST
Moderator: Lisa Eisen, National Director, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy